Thai director Panna Rittikrai has died, aged 53. The action moviemaker passed away at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday (20Jul14) after a battle with liver disease.
Rittikrai was a martial arts expert who started his career as a stuntman and actor, and went on to work as a choreographer, setting out fight scenes and stunts in a number of films.
He rose to fame internationally with the release of 2003's Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior starring Tony Jaa, which featured his stunt choreography. He later turned his hand to directing and took charge of movies including Bangkok Knockout and Ong-Bak 2 and 3.
United ArtistsDespite the fact that the majority of action films would cease to exist without them, the campaign to introduce an Oscar honoring the best stuntmen and stuntwomen of the year has been constantly rejected since 1991. Jason Statham became the latest star to speak up for those 'risking their necks' in the name of entertainment last month, describing the repeated snubs as 'a total injustice.' Here are five death-defying stunts which suggest the Transporter lead has a point.The Spy Who Loved MeEasily the most awe-inspiring opening to a Bond movie, stuntman Rick Sylvester almost didn't survive his breath-taking ski-jump off Canada's Asgard Peak when one of his detached skis very nearly ripped his Union Jack-themed parachute.Police StoryJackie Chan is unlikely to ever trouble the Oscars for his acting skills but he certainly deserves a statue for his stunt work. None more so than on 1985's Police Story where he jumps from the top floor of a shopping mall, slides down several storeys of light bulbs and smashes into a glass ceiling.Ben-HurCGI would no doubt be used to create Ben-Hur's legendary chariot race these days, but back in 1959 it was an actual human being, Joe Canutt, who was given the responsibility of pulling off the film's most death-defying stunt. An unexpected bounce which threw him into the air as his chariot leaped over the wreckage of another only makes it even more spectacular.Raiders Of The Lost ArkStuntman Terry Leonard had previously had his legs run over while attempting a similar series of dangerous stunts during The Legend of the Lone Ranger the same year. But thankfully, he managed to get knocked over the hood of a truck, crawl underneath the speeding vehicle and drag himself to safety without suffering a serious injury in Indiana Jones' first outing.Ong-BakLead actor and trained martial artist Tony Jaa could have taken up this entire list with the jaw-dropping feats he performed in 2003's Ong-Bak. But the bike fight scene in which he leaps from a raging inferno, spins through the air and delivers a knock-out kick with his legs aflame is perhaps the most impressive.
It takes a village to bring down Tony Jaa, and even then it's a 50-50 proposition, as the Thai actor-director amply demonstrates in this brutal fight scene from Ong bak 2: The Beginning:
Ong bak 2 is now available for download via Video-on-Demand, Amazon.com and Xbox Live. It begins a limited theatrical run October 23, 2009.
Late tough guy Lee Marvin has topped a new poll naming the biggest movie badasses.
Marvin's role as Walker in '60s cult classic Point Blank tops the list in Maxim magazine.
In joint second place are actors Jamison Newlander, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, all honored for their roles in vampire movie The Lost Boys.
Legendary hard man Charles Bronson's performance in The Magnificent Seven rounds out the top five.
The Top 10 Movie Badasses are:
1. Lee Marvin in Point Blank
2. Jamison Newlander in The Lost Boys
2. Corey Haim in The Lost Boys
2. Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys
5. Charles Bronson in The Magnificent Seven
6. Jean Reno in The Professional
7. James Caan in Thief
8. Michael Caine in Get Carter
9. Tony Jaa in The Protector
10. Choi Min-Sik in Oldboy
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The Covenant, a Lost Boys meets The Craft tale about teens trying to destroy each other with supernatural powers, took the top spot at the North American box office this weekend with only $9 million.
By comparison, the debut of The Exorcism of Emily Rose took in more than $30 million in the same weekend a year ago.
"The summer (movie) season ended on a pretty high note, but the fall season is starting off a little slow," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told The Associated Press. "I don't think anyone expected this weekend to set the world on fire in terms of box office."
The Covenant pushed the reigning champ, the football drama Invincible, down to third place with $5.7 million, while Hollywoodland--a film noir examining the 1959 death of TV’s Superman, George Reeves, and starring Ben Affleck, Diane Lane and Adrien Brody—opened in second with $6 million.
Also debuting this weekend was The Protector, a martial arts thriller starring newcomer Tony Jaa, which landed in the fourth spot with $5 million.
Meanwhile, after 10 weeks in theaters, the year's biggest hit, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, jumped the $1 billion mark internationally--the third film to do so behind Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
The top 12 movies grossed $54.3 million this weekend, down 25.97 percent from last year’s draw of $73.4 and down 30.53 percent from last weekend’s total of $78.2 million.
The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: Screen Gems’ The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which opened No. 1 with $30 million in 2,981 theaters, averaging $10,082 per theater; Universal’s The 40 Year-Old Virgin, which stayed in second place in its third week of release with $7.7 million in 2,974 theaters, averaging $2,595 per theaters; and 20th Century Fox’s Transporter 2, which dropped to third place in its second week with $7.3 million in 3,320 theaters, averaging $2,226 per theaters (Click here to read last year's box office report).
BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES
(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)
No. 1: The Covenant (Screen Gems, PG-13)
• Gross: $9 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 2,681
• Per-theater average: $3,357
No. 2: Hollywoodland (Focus Features, R)
• Gross: $6 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 1,548
• Per-theater average: $3,881
No. 3: Invincible (Buena Vista, PG)
• Gross: $5.7 million (-52%)
• Weeks opened: 3
• Theaters: 2,987 (+66)
• Per-theater average: $1,936
• Cume to date: $45.6 million
No. 4: The Protector (Weinstein Co., R)
• Gross: $5 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 1,541
• Per-theater average: $3,265
No. 5: Crank (Lions Gate, R)
• Gross: $4.8 million (-54%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 2,515 (unchanged)
• Per-theater average: $1,909
• Cume to date: $19.8 million
No. 6: The Illusionist (Yari Film Group, PG-13)
• Gross: $4.6 million (-26%)
• Weeks opened: 4
• Theaters: 1,362 (+391)
• Per-theater average: $3,406
• Cume to date: $18 million
No. 7: Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight, R)
• Gross: $4.4 million (-42%)
• Weeks opened: 7
• Theaters: 1,560 (-42)
• Per-theater average: $2,837
• Cume to date: $41.6 million
No. 8: Wicker Man (Warner Bros., PG-13)
• Gross: $4.1 million (-57%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 2,784 (unchanged)
• Per-theater average: $1,478
• Cume to date: $17.4 million
No. 9: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Sony, PG-13)
• Gross: $3 million (-51%)
• Weeks opened: 6
• Theaters: 2,617 (-384)
• Per-theater average: $1,146
• Cume to date: $142.1 million
No. 10: Barnyard (Paramount, PG)
• Gross: $2.5 million (-47%)
• Weeks opened: 6
• Theaters: 2,506 (-401)
• Per-theater average: $1,032
• Cume to date: $66.8 million
Of course the plot is just an excuse to set up the fight scenes. In this case it revolves around a Thai farmer and martial arts expert Kham (Tony Jaa) who lives a peaceful existence surrounded by a family of elephants he’s grown up with. When a ruthless gang kills Kham’s dad pinches two of his beloved elephants and smuggles them to Sydney Australia (to do god knows what with them) Kham immediately springs into ass-kicking mode and goes Down Under to get them back. Despite the help of Sergeant Mark (Petchthai Wongkamlao) a Thai policeman and Pla (Bongkot Kongmalai) a Thai girl forced into modern day slavery the going gets tough for our friend. But the moral of this story is if you steal a kung-fu master’s elephants you WILL have your legs broken. Period. Bruce Lee. Jackie Chan. Jet Li. And now Tony Jaa a martial arts connoisseur from Thailand whose debut in the Thai film Ong Bak put him on the map. The Thai fighter offers something slightly new to the genre combining an ancient boxing art known as Muay Thai or the “Science of 8 Limbs” with expert sword fighting and gymnastics. It’s truly something to behold especially since he does all the work. Even if he lacks Chan’s charm or Li’s intense dramatic skills Jaa is poised to claim the crown as the new master of the chop-socky. The rest of the cast are merely window-dressing with one stand out—Madam Rose (Xing Jing) the head of the international crime syndicate. She’s such a meeeean lady. The Protector actually seems a bit nostalgic for the days of such Bruce Lee classics as Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury. With a sparse storyline really bad dialogue and dubbed lines Protector fits right in. But that’s not what you’re seeing this movie for. It’s about the fighting and director Prachya Pinkaew (Ong Bak) frames his muse in one highly choreographed elaborate sequence after another. The best is probably in the lair of Madame Rose. Once Kham breaks in—and discovers the fate of one of his elephants—he then becomes a one-man limb-breaking machine. Protector is rated R not so much for blood and gore but perhaps for the hundreds of times you hear bones being crunched. Ouch.